Archive for February, 2022


Posted on: February 28th, 2022 by hauleymusic No Comments

South Carolina  |  Jan 17, 1781

By late 1778, the British high command proceeded with their “Southern Strategy.” Why did they choose this new “Southern Strategy?” Simply put, economics. The New England colonies produced many of the same products and goods as the British Isles, but the Southern Colonies were a different story. Rice, indigo, tobacco, and other cash crops abounded. Crops that could not be produced in the British Isles. The institution of chattel slavery helped to keep the wholesale prices of these products low, and British mercantilism could profit from cornering the market and selling the goods for substantial profits. Many leaders in London felt that the Southern people supported Toryism, and by default were more apt to take up arms as loyalists. These loyalist forces could be relied upon to bolster the British war effort lending manpower to an army that had been at war with their own colonists since 1775. However, in the South Carolina Low Country, British soldiers freed southern planters’ greatest source of labor and income—enslaved workers. While in the Backcountry, British officers used threats and intimidation against the population. Thus, by alienating the population, the British had difficulty rallying sympathetic allies to their cause, while exacerbating the civil war within a civil war. With little loyalist support, they faced greater challenges in battle as the campaign in the South continued.

The South Carolina backcountry turned out to be Britain’s undoing. The colonial population there was split between patriots and loyalists. The territory was essentially engaged in civil war, with neighbor pitted against neighbor. Both sides organized militias and engaged in armed raids and reprisals. Into this hostile arena, General George Washington sent Major General Nathanael Greene to take command of the Southern Army. Greene, just two weeks into his command, split his force, sending Brigadier General Daniel Morgan southwest of the Catawba River to cut supply lines and hamper British operations.

General Cornwallis, the British commander in the South, countered Greene’s move by sending Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to block Morgan’s progress. Tarleton was only 26 years old, but he was already an able commander. He was also feared and hated. At the Battle of Waxhaws in 1780, Tarleton was alleged to have attacked Continental Army troops who were trying to surrender. His refusal of offering “no quarter,” is said to be the derivation of the derisive term “Tarleton’s Quarter,” meaning “taking no prisoners.” Morgan’s brilliant victory over Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens was humiliating for the elite British army officer. His loss directly contributed to Cornwallis’s defeat in the southern colonies, the British surrender at Yorktown, and American independence.


  • Babits, Lawrence E. (1998). A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2434-8.
  • Bearss, Edwin. C. (1996). The Battle of Cowpens: A Documented Narrative and Troop Movement Maps. Johnson City, Tennessee: Overmountain Press. ISBN 1-57072-045-2.
  • Buchanan, John (1997). The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-16402-X.
  • Davis, Burke (2002). The Cowpens-Guilford Courthouse Campaign. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1832-9.
  • Fleming, Thomas J. (1988). Cowpens: Official National Park Handbook. National Park Service. ISBN 0-912627-33-6.
  • Montross, Lynn. “America’s Most Imitated Battle.” American Heritage, Vol. 7, No. 3 (April 1956), pp. 35–37, 100–101.
  • Roberts, Kenneth (1958). The Battle of Cowpens: The Great Morale-Builder. Garden City: Doubleday and Company.
  • Swager, Christine R. (2002). Come to the Cow Pens!: The Story of the Battle of Cowpens January 17, 1781. Hub City Writers Project. ISBN 1-891885-31-6.

Battle of Mobile (1781)

Posted on: February 16th, 2022 by hauleymusic No Comments

The 2nd Battle of Mobile, also known as the Battle at the Village, was a British attempt to recapture the town of Mobile, in the British province of West Florida, from the Spanish during the Anglo-Spanish War. The Spanish had previously captured Mobile in March 1780. On January 7, 1781, a British attack against a Spanish outpost on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay was repulsed, and the German leader of the expedition was killed.


After Spain declared war on Great Britain in 1779, Bernardo de Gálvez, the Governor of Spanish Louisiana, immediately began offensive operations to gain control of neighboring British West Florida, which included parts of today’s Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. In September 1779 he gained complete control over the lower Mississippi River by capturing Fort Bute and shortly afterwards obtaining the surrender of the remaining enemy forces in the region following the Battle of Baton Rouge. He followed up these successes with the capture of Mobile on March 14, 1780, following a brief siege. (In the spring of 1781, Gálvez would go on to capture Pensacola, British West Florida‘s administrative capital.)

After the Mobile victory, the Spanish built an entrenched outpost on the east side of Mobile Bay, in an area that controlled Mobile’s water supply. When the British troops arrived on January 7, the outpost was manned by about 200 men of the Principe Regiment, under Ramon de Castro y Gutierrez.


The British garrison nearest to Mobile was in West Florida’s capital, Pensacola. The commander, General John Campbell, had under his command about 500 men, composed mostly of men from the 16th and 60th Regiments, but also including some Waldecker grenadiers and some Loyalist militia. The British relations with the Creeks, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indians were also relatively good. Hundreds of Choctaw warriors responded to British pleas for help and came to Mobile.[3]

Emboldened by the destruction of a Gálvez-led expedition against Pensacola by a hurricane in the fall of 1780, Campbell decided to attempt the recapture of Mobile.[1] On January 3, he dispatched an expedition of more than 700 men under the command of the Waldecker Captain Johann von Hanxleden.[4]


Hanxleden’s force arrived near the outpost late on January 6, and made a dawn attack the next morning. Forty of the Spaniards made a dash for a boat anchored nearby, but the British cut many of them down with a musket volley. Indians from the expedition then followed the Spaniards into the water to collect scalps. The remaining Spanish coolly opened fire on the British, killing Hanxleden and nineteen others. Don Ramon de Castro led a successful bayonet charges against 3 to 1 odds. The British troops then disengaged and retreated.[1]


The British fled back to Pensacola, and made no further attempts against Mobile. Spanish authorities in Cuba dispatched additional forces to hold Mobile when they learned of the attack. Spanish Field Marshal Gálvez captured Pensacola later in the year, completing his conquest of West Florida.

Ramon de Castro y Gutiérrez later used this experience for the defensive plans of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he became Captain General in 1795, after the invasion of Trinidad in 1797. The English attacked San Juan a few months after Trinidad.